Half Notes: Groove Collective – Groove Collective (1994)

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Even though it’s really a dance record, I loved the old-school touches from Groove Collective — like an organ, vibes and a flute (memorably tooted on “Rashaanasong” from this self-titled release). It’s like Basie by way of Bootsy. When the cacophony crescendoes, there’s even the pure fusion expansiveness of turn-of-the-1970s Miles Davis. Throughout, however, is a raw, steady, very modern beat. It doesn’t always work. There are also times, as with the single “Whatchugot,” where the group sounds too much like the contemporary Brand New Heavies. Unlike, say, Bitches Brew, the Groove Collective also lacks someone to add a truly satisfying aside on the trump. The solos here are well-ordered and apt, but there isn’t much of a sense of journey.

Surprising is this: Groove Collective was produced by Gary Katz, who did all of the board work on Steely Dan‘s greatest sides. He doesn’t always bring the same smart economy to the tracks here: Some seem somewhat overlong — thanks largely to the occasionally metronomic rhythms. But it’s not meant to be jazz music. It’s meant to be grooved to. So, do that.

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‘Half Notes’ are quick-take thoughts on music from Something Else! Reviews, presented whenever the mood strikes us.

Nick DeRiso

Nick DeRiso

Nick DeRiso has written for USA Today, American Songwriter, All About Jazz, and a host of others. Honored as columnist of the year five times by the Associated Press, Louisiana Press Association and Louisiana Sports Writers Association, he oversaw a daily section named Top 10 in the U.S. by the AP before co-founding Something Else! Nick is now associate editor of Ultimate Classic Rock.
Nick DeRiso
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